A change in the Government’s immigration policy requires wider social support, and therefore the Government has put together a questionnaire of twelve questions as part of a national consultation concerning immigration, economic immigration and terrorism.

Answers from every Hungarian citizen who completed the age of 18 years are expected by 1 July 2015.

This was stated by Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács on Friday at his press conference held in Budapest after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the radio programme “180 minutes” of Kossuth Rádió that the Government had approved the questions of the national consultation related to illegal border-crossers.

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According to the information provided by the Government Spokesperson, the mailing of the more than 8 million questionnaires will begin as of the beginning of May. The postal service will need 30 to 40 days to deliver the letters, and answers are expected by 1 July. Also on this occasion, the questionnaires will be processed by the Central Office for Public Administration and Electronic Public Administration Services (KEKKH).
Based on the Cabinet’s estimate, the consultation will cost some HUF 960 million; however, a full account will be given of the final costs at a later date, he added.

Zoltán Kovács told the press that the questions will cover issues such as whether, in spite of the EU prohibition, keeping illegal immigrants in custody round the clock should be made possible.

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The Government also seeks to find out citizens’ opinions on whether there should be scope for immediately deporting migrants who prove to have merely abused the European rules which “encourage illegal migration”, Zoltán Kovács said. The Government Spokesperson told members of the press that citizens may also state whether they agree with the idea that illegal immigrants arriving in Hungary should be required to take part in raising the expenditures which they themselves generate.

Zoltán Kovács said that experts and Parliament will have the job of finding the appropriate response to illegal immigration on the basis of the replies received.

The Government Spokesperson also reiterated that Hungary’s view on illegal immigration is not drastically different from the position of the European Union as the Hungarian Government itself believes that the problem should be treated at its very roots; i.e. as far as possible, it is necessary to create the conditions in the “countries of issue” which ensure that “economic immigrants” do not even consider leaving.

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Mr Kovács reiterated that Hungary is among the countries which are required to cope with a higher-than-average immigration burden compared with their relative size. He therefore agrees with the European position released on Thursday, based on which immediate action must be taken in the Mediterranean where it is necessary to increase the military and humanitarian presence, thereby frustrating the activities of human traffickers.
We need joint European action, “but every country has its own criteria”, the Government Spokesperson underlined, adding that Spain and Hungary, for instance, cannot be compared from the respect of immigration as this problem emerges in different ways in the two countries.

The questions of the national consultation will also be accessible on the government website at kormány.hu as of Friday afternoon, the Government Spokesperson said.

The National Consultation questionnaire can be downloaded from the “Related materials” section on the right.